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a nation devastated by a catastrophic earthquake. then another disaster. >> now you have a cholera epidemic. >> now one year later we return to haiti. with a band of brave americans. >> i got to do all this stuff while i'm still young. >> on a mission impossible. to parachute into isolated mountains. build an airstrip. >> this is going to be very tricky. >> and bring in medicine. led by a doctor inspired by her father's sacrifice. >> he wanted to become a doctor. >> he gave up his dream. >> i have to give back. >> lives saved. but for some, help came too late. >> if we'd had the airplane here and a place to take her, could we have saved her life. >> they struggle to help the desperate. in a race against time. >> roger airship is cleared at this time. >> to bring life and hope. >> that's what it's all about. >> rescue in the mountains.
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i'm ann curry reporting from haiti. we now take you into a place until recently seemed forgotten. it is so remote, few westerners have ever been here. it is a place of extreme need, of illness and suffering. but because of one group of americans, it is suddenly a place of hope. once in a while, the human spirit of endeavor soars high above our expectations. defies mother nature and gives a second chance to those who need it most. >> i had no idea what the challenge would be until i got here. >> this is a story about a group of intrepid volunteers on a rescue mission to an earthquake zone in the grip of a cholera epidemic. an odyssey full of danger and
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against massive odds. but with the giant leap into the unknown, they journey to save lives, transform a place and bring hope to a forgotten people. >> i said, we can't sit this one out, we got to be in haiti again. >> january 12th, 2010. haiti was torn to pieces by a sudden catastrophic earthquake. there are not enough doctors to take care of all the injured to the parents are stepping in and taking care of their own children. this is a hospital. whole neighborhoods swallowed up. 230,000 lives lost. and then last fall, another disaster struck. cholera. a disease transmitted through water which can cause fatal dehydration. this time the devastation spread beyond the quake zone into remote and secluded communities
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that hadn't appeared on the nightly news. places like the village of madore, high in haiti's mountains in an area where some 40,000 people lived off the land. already suffering with poverty, already shaken to its knees by the earthquake, now cholera seemed to be sucking the life out of this little village, barely reached since the earthquake. a dozen people were already dead. hundreds more were thought to be sick in their homes and thousands were at risk of catching the disease. how did you characterize the level of need here? >> there's no sanitation, there's no electricity, there's no running water. there's no way in in a vehicle. there's no way in by air. now you have a cholera epidemic and people are dying. the need is extreme. >> stan brock, head of the tennessee-based non-profit called remote area medical, has been delivering aid to haiti for more than 15 years.
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>> brothers and sisters in haiti -- >> after stan was told of the dire situation in madore by a catholic perish in arlington, he traveled to haiti in mof anovem and trekked to the village on foot to see if he can help. >> when people get sick, they either get over it or have to hike down to the nearest medical facility which is seven, eight hours down the road. >> with two humble clinics and a set of centers serving the area, father sherry felt helpless. he says, people here are not living but surviving. this area has been completely forgotten. the situation is very grave. a grave situation demanded a bold solution, stan thought, as he returned to his base in knoxville, tennessee. a pilot and humanitarian, stan
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had starred in the long-running nature show "wild kingdom" in the early 1970s. >> what tremendous endurance this animal has. >> but he would need to draw on all of this 25 years of medical missions worldwide to design a plan like no other. he decided to not only treat madore's cholera but to find a permanent remedy for its isolation. he would parachute a team of volunteers into the village. they would open a road and build an airstrip so he could fly a small plane, an air ambulance into the village. he would also parachute cholera medicines in and then escort a medical team on foot into the village to treat cholera victims. and since he was relying on volunteers with busy schedules, he would have to complete the mission in 12 days. you have taken on a mission to come to the remote mountains of haiti to build an airstrip, to
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parachute people in when there is no place for them to really to land. stan, this is insane. >> well, to me it makes sense. >> but first he would need to assemble a medical team and parachute team. >> i've had leaders that i would follow off a cliff and leaders that i would like to push off a cliff. stan brock is the kind of leader, if he asks you to jump off a cliff, you would do it because you'd know it was the right thing to do. >> for a plan as gutsy as this one, stan needed his trusteey right hand man. >> i'm 71. i figure, i have to do all this stuff while i'm still young. >> he would lead the parachute team, supervise the cargo drops of cholera medication and
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oversee the airstrip construction and do it all with his wife, judy. >> in the beginning i took myself off this jump because i had a hip replacement a couple years ago. >> 67 years old with a hip replacement. >> yes. >> jumping out of a plane. >> yes. i have confidence in dick as a jump master and in my skills and my parachute. >> this is not your easy landing. this is as tough as they come. >> right. >> though some ground had been cleared by the villages, landing in rocks or trees in a volatile land with unpredictable weather made this an especially risky mission for stoops and his parachute team. >> i tried to explain to them the danger and i tried to give them every opportunity to back out. >> but on december 5th, day 1 of the mission, the nine-member parachute team from all over the u.s. flew to the staging area in port-au-prince. they were medical workers, a computer technician, an actor, retirees, and pilots. and immediately they prepared to make a jump charged with
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uncertainty. >> it's almost a guarantee ankle buster or leg buster if you land on that creek. >> the kicker was the parachute team was to jump from a plane used on dday. dropping u.s. paratroopers into normandy 66 years ago. what are you doing here? >> we asked ourself that. ♪ >> and in madore, itself, people were asking that same question, wondering what exactly was going on. some prayed for salvation. others just stared at the sky. engines roaring, the parachute team onboard, phase one of the mission to rescue madore got under way. and stan's old bird lumbered into the air with its vital cargo of cholera medicine. sounds like you keep your fingers crossed and you plunge
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ahead. >> yes. 18 miles to madore. there's the church. i got the church in sight. >> 20 minutes later they were circling over the drop zone. >> okay. i'm on the down wind, know. >> and then judy first -- >> go! >> blowing a kiss to her husband, dick, they jump. >> jumpers away. 25 inches. >> on the ground below, the people of madore had never seen anything quite like what they were witnessing. ghostly figures fell through the sky. silhouetted against the clouds. descending slowly from the heavens. but it wasn't all smooth sailing. things don't always go according to plan. >> right. coming up -- >> go! >> danger in the drop zone.
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day one of the 12-day mission to rescue the haitian village of medor was under way. in the pilot seat of an antiquated plane, stan brock was leading an audacious humanitarian effort to treat cholera and bring relief to an isolated village. his parachute team was now falling through the sky, as villagers below looked on in amazement. one after another, they landed. judy stoops hitting her target almost dead-on. her hip in tact. >> everybody's safe on the ground. >> phase one of the mission to help the remote haitian village was successful. now stan would fly low to drop the cargo of emergency cholera medication and camping gear for the parachute team below. the plan was to throw a lot of material out of that plane. >> the next phase was to get the airplane down to 300 feet above ground level and push out the cargo. >> but flying so low in mountainous terrain was dangerous, and dropping cargo
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was risky in a place where thousands of people had gathered. they could be injured or worse. >> this is going to be very tricky. >> stan was struggling to bring the aircraft low enough to make an accurate drop. miss all of the people and make it out of the valley safely. >> we're 2,000 feet. it's kind of iffy. so getting down to 300 feet was not possible. i don't know that it's safe to make a drop. >> as perilous as the cargo drop was, the people of medor needed the medication. >> we're 1,000 feet off the ground. >> at three times the optimal altitude, they decided to go for it. as the par chult opened, the cargo drifted alarmingly wide of its mark. >> way too long, way too long. >> there didn't appear to be anyone hurt on the ground so stan decided to try again.
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>> mederor, are you ready for another drop? >> this time lower. >> can't get any lower than this. >> as they pushed out the second load, this time they seem to be right on the money. >> almost dead-on. on the ground. >> fantastic. okay. >> as the chute landed, it was swarmed by people including dozens of children. there were still three drops to make, and with each cargo drop, the odds of a disaster seemed to grow. >> the right wing was scraping the top of the damn hill there. >> okay. >> we can't get down any lower. >> it was time for stan to make a decision. >> i would say let's quit while we're ahead hundred ahead. hundreds of people were sort of invading drop zones. it was not an acceptable risk. i said, okay, we're not going to drop anymore cargo. >> not dropping anymore cargo meant not delivering the cholera medication, the most urgent part
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of the mission. but there was other pressing work to complete. so with a salute, dick stoops drove out to work on the airstrip and open a road into medor below. then stan turned the plane back to port-au-prince, where by now his medical team was gathering. they would have to take the cholera medication with them to medor. >> you're going to have to now carry it up the mountain? >> yeah. we'll just hike our way up the mountain tomorrow. which, of course, will take us all day and perhaps even longer. >> this could be a serious setback, especially for one woman. hours before the remaining cargo drops were called off, 60 kbr 60-year-old abdel had been carried two hours, and with severe diarrhea and vomiting, a local diagnosed her with cholera.
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she needed the medical attention they could provide. could they make the medical journey in time to help her? at 5:00 a.m. the following morning, day two of the mission, stan linked up with his medical team. doctors, nurses, a dentist, ophthalmologist and even a vet. already assembled in port-au-prince. remote area medical volunteers joined the members from arlington, virginia, including pediatrician dr. heidi, whose idea it was to contact stan in the first place. heidi grew up in the philippines and has been living in the united states for ten years. she first visited medor in 2008 and saw people living at the whim of the sun and the rain. and off of beans and sugarcane they could smell at the market. >> malnutrition, exposed to, you know, sick kids. but going to medor really had a big impact because it's much, much worse. >> heidi and her perish leaders
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had been running a modest development effort in medor. water, sanitation and education projects. now they packed cholera medication into a truck and were heading back on an emergency medical mission. for heidi it was a personal journey, too. she invited her father, ray, on the trip to share a bonding experience. soon they left the city behind. paved roads as well. this was hard going, especially for the truck. >> very good. >> then the trail got steeper, rockier and harder. >> we're getting into the worst part. where the roads are very steep and there's steep drop-offs. >> some cars could go no farther and neither could the truck filled with cholera medication. stan was undaunted. >> this is better than i expected. >> you know, you're a cup-half-full guy. i like that about you. stan and the medical team, with heidi and her father, ray, had
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to hike the rest of the way to medor with the cholera medication, two hours of hard hiking. and almost immediately heidi found a patient, a month-old baby. >> mild bronchitis, so he might need some medicine but we don't have antibiotics. >> she told the family to bring the boy for treatment in medor the following morning. >> tell them to look for me tomorrow so i can see him right away. >> seeing poor children reminded heidi of life in the philippines. >> you say you know poverty. >> yes. >> there's an empathy you feel? >> uh-huh. >> empathy and strong emotions were surfacing in heidi. she tried to focus on the cholera mission. >> welcome back. hey. >> at last, stan, heidi and the medical team arrived in medor, where the parachute team is already making good progress on the airstrip. the doctors plan to set up a three-day emergency clinic the following morning. after they learned about
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60-year-old abdel, they immediately got to work inserting an i.v. >> she's too sick to drink enough to keep up with what she's losing. >> did these doctors and their cargo of medicines arrive in time to save her life? they would find out soon enough with just nine days left to rescue medor. coming up, reaching the village, struggling to save cholera patients. >> this is a 2-year-old kid. >> and earthquake victims. >> this could have killed her.
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with only nine days left in their mission to rescue medor, dr. heidi and her fellow doctors and nurses were getting ready for an onslaught of patients
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desperate for medical care. judy stoops, not only an expert parachuter, but also a medical nurse, joined the medical team. supervising the construction of the airstrip, judy's husband, dick stoops, was realizing how challenging the work would be. and in a spare wooden building that had been converted into the villages cholera treatment center, an elderly victim was clinging to life. back at the clinic, heidi was well aware cholera is a disease that does not discriminate. >> heidi, what's happening here? >> this is a 2-year-old kid which mom says started vomiting yesterday. six times. the kids, you have to really be aggressi aggressive. hydration is the key. you don't need magic pills. you just need the fluids, the water. >> you're saying people don't have to die of cholera. >> no, no. that's why it's really frustrating to have this number of deaths, just from cholera. >> by now, 40 people had already
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died. hundreds more were in danger. the village's modest health facilities were overburdened and not just with cholera. this severely diabetic woman carried to the clinic by her daughter hoped that doctors could help treat her badly infected foot. >> what happened with this toe? did the doctor cut it off? >> so infected her daughter amputated the toe, herself. >> you cut it? >> the infection was too advanced. the foot probably lost. and the clinic was not set up to perform surgery. >> we have a patient that really needs an amputation of the leg. i think the results that i'm seeing in the medical team amply justifies the need of an airstrip here at medor. >> building the 1,500-foot-long airstrip and fixing the road was
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dick's job, but he couldn't do it alone. medor community leaders hired 20 workers to help. armed with axes and hoes, they cleared about 400 feet. >> this is what you're pulling up. a lot of rock. >> yeah. because if that sticks up that much above the ground and the airplane tire hits it, it could blow it or damage the landing gear, itself. >> this is hard manual labor. >> manual labor. >> if there was anyone among the american volunteers who understood the true meaning of hard manual labor it was heidi's father, ray, a first-generation immigrant and naturalized citizen who grew up in poverty in the philippines. >> whenever i see the people, especially kids walking barefooted, i'm reminded of my young years. >> it took only a couple of days to fix the road, but on the airstrip, the hardest part was yet to come. a thick maze of rocks, brush and trees stretching up more than
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1,000 feet. and with now only eight days left to make the deadline, dick and stan realize they needed to double their workforce to at least 40 people. by the next morning, word had spread. the americans were here. hundreds came to the clinic from near and far with high hope. that's when this team of doctors met perhaps their most extraordinary patient. a 19-year-old boy by the name of st. luke. he lived in a small house two hours up the mountain from medor. he said he was standing in the kitchen in front of a fire when a powerful aftershock of the earthquake hit the area last february. >> translator: i saw the earth being turned upsidedown. i'm religious so i was praying. i went and fell back like this. i fell into the fire like this. this hand broke and was completely burned. >> st. luke said he hiked for a day to the nearest hospital and later to the medical center in
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medor, but the hand was badly infected and just kept getting worse. he now hoped the westerners in medor could finally put an end to almost a year of misery and pain. his sister had a vision, he said, that the americans would amputate his arm. >> translator: the hand won't heal. the pain chews right through me. >> the doctors thought if they could peel off the infected skin and clean the wound, they could possibly save st. luke's hand. how much pain would you say he's in? >> on a 10, i'd give it a 9 to 10. >> 9 to 10. that breathing is really helping. even got a smile. look at that. he's smiling. >> he's a trooper. >> outside in the schoolyard, among the sick waiting in line, a group of students broke into an impromptu dancing game. in medor, happiness and misery seem to co-exist in close quarters. the month-old baby heidi
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examined on the side of the road the previous day showed up, tired but healthy. and the 2-year-old who had shown early cholera symptoms had taken in enough fluids to fight off the disease. but as evening fell on medor, tragedy showed its face at the cholera clinic. adel, the woman doctors hoped to save when they first arrived, died of the disease. her son stood in shock outside the cholera clinic. >> translator: i was very surprised. i didn't think she was going to die. i'm very sad. i do not know what to do. >> a woodworker nearby was putting the finishing touches on a coffin. the son sent word of his mother's death to his village. it was dark when together with relatives he picked up the body to carry her home. and as this solemn procession
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began its two-hour journey up the mountain, 60 miles away port-au-prince erupted in violence. the national election results had been announced, and as expected, many haitians took to the streets in protests. saying the results were rigged, they blockaded roads, lit fires and attacked u.n. and government forces. and that unrest would lead to unexpected consequences for heidi and her fellow doctors in medor. coming up, their departure delayed, doctors see a new flood of patients. >> when i hear a baby cry, how do i know that that's not one we turned away? >> making a difference one life at a time. when "rescue in the mountains" continues. my busy family, the family with thousands of odors. like boomer, our boxer. our leftovers... from last night. and then there's phil.
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in the battle to save medor, one fight has been lost. adel, now laid buried in the cemetery high above medor, her
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grave added to dozens of others who died of cholera in the past month. >> if he had the airplane here and a place to take her, could we have saved her life? >> with just seven days left in their mission to kept medor to the outside world, the airstrip team was still facing 1,000 feet of tough uncleared terrain. at the clinic, st. luke returned to get his hand cleaned and rebandaged. although it was still very painful, doctors thought the infection was already beginning to heal. >> had he not come to us for medical attention, this wound could have killed him. >> the medical team was wrapping up its three-day mission, trying to treat as many people as possible. they planned to return to port-au-prince the next day and fly home, under pressure to get back to their families and their patients in the united states. then stan delivered some bad news. there were no flights to be had.
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the election violence in port-au-prince had brought the capital to a standstill. >> the place is pretty well shut down which means, of course, no flights in, no flights out. things really sort of, you know, turn south, then we'll come up with plan "b." >> heidi and her fellow doctors would have to stay another night in medor. for hundreds of people, it was lucky they did. >> i woke up, i heard people screaming and saying that there are people waiting at the clinic. >> problem was the doctors had already treated so many people they had run out of many medications. no nonetheless, they scrambled to get ready. stan went to survey the scene. about 500 people crowded the courtyard. the most doctors had time and medicine to treat was about half that. the question was, who? heidi took charge.
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>> the sickest patients which are the old people, the pregnant women, the young kids, those who really look good compared to the general population. our priority are the sickest patients. >> many of the people in the crowd walked through the night from a village five hours away. stan tried to line them up to give each one of them a number to make sure they would be seen by one of the doctors. that's when chaos broke out. >> people started just pressing forward. and we just didn't have enough people to hold them back. there was no way to control the crowd. >> where's number one? she's number two. >> judy played gatekeeper, trying to make sure only those who had numbers made it to the examining room. >> just about every clinic, whether it's in the u.s., in africa, here in haiti, there is
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always the chaos and confusion in the crowding and wanting those precious numbers. everyone wants a number. i hate to turn people away. but we can't possibly do them all. you go away sad and during the middle of the night when i hear a baby cry, how do i know that that's not one we turned away? >> fortunately there was no time to reflect. not when someone's life was at stake. just before day's end, this 20-year-old woman was rushed to the clinic. >> diarrhea. >> the diagnosis full-blown cholera. the crowd dispersed. doctors rushed the woman to the cholera center. put in the i.v. line. it was all too reminiscent of the day they first arrived in medor and tried to save adel but couldn't. now, would they be able to save
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this cholera victim? back at the clinic, heidi was trying to see as many children as possible before she had to close the clinic and head back to the united states. >> you cannot really save everybody, you just to have think, you know, one person at a time, and hopefully you made a difference in that person's life. >> there once was a person who had made a profound difference in heidi's life. someone she said whose image she had seen in the faces of all the children who have come into the clinic, barefoot, poor and in pain. it's why she pushed herself to help so many. to show them in actions rather than words how much he had meant to her. >> it's my dad. he wanted to become a doctor, but he can't. >> he gave up his dream. >> uh-huh. >> so you are -- you are the dream. >> yeah. my father did a good job of
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working really hard to make us go to school and for me to be able to move to the u.s. and to experience a good life, i have to give back to these people because he was one of them, even though the race is different, the country's different, they have this same heart. >> let's go down here to the 1,350 mark. >> the airstrip race against time was still on, but heidi's medical mission was now complete. it was time to return home, but how? stan's plan "b" had been to commandeer a private plane and fly his doctors to the dominican republic and out of harm's way. he couldn't land a plane in medor just yet. enter stan's plan "c." coming up, five days and hundreds of feet to go to clear the airstrip.
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when suddenly they face a new problem. >> you don't know if it's going to be here a couple hours, a couple days or a week. >> when "dateline" continues. r . it acts up at different times. affects different joints. makes different movements more difficult. so when i exercise, i need a fitness program that's different too. and i found it. it's "my ra fit kit". people with rheumatoid arthritis have different needs. i know. that's why i helped develop "my ra fit kit". - a free exercise program you can personalize. of course, exercise can't replace medical treatment... ...but adding it can help reduce the pain, stiffness and fatigue of ra. for your free exercise booklet, call 1-800-251-3387 or go to myrafitkit.com... ...and start personalizing your plan for your specific needs. i like stuff i can do at home plus my knees are bad... ... so my ra fitkit is designed around that. ... but yours will be different 'cuz you'll
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it had been a week of firsts for the people of medor. they had seen a world war ii plane fly across the mountaintops. they had seen people in cargo parachute from the heavens. and watched a bunch of american volunteers begin to carve an airstrip into the jungle. what would they see next? a few minutes after 10:00 on this seventh day of the mission, a helicopter appeared in the skies above medor. with election violence persisting and roads to the capital still blocked, the doctors needed another way out. so stan made a few phone calls to port-au-prince and found one. it was time for good-byes. st. luke came down the mountain to thank the doctor who worked to save his hand. >> it's been a pleasure.
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take care. >> thank you for coming to medor. >> in her time in medor, heidi had treated hundreds of people, but now she was leaving. >> that's the thing with medical missions, you come and go, but the problem's still there. >> how do you make sense of that? the unfairness of coming to this place that has so little, offering them medical care for a little bit then leaving? >> but you just have to think that you've changed a person's life right there and then. >> this woman's life was not only changed by heidi and her colleagues, it was saved. the 20-year-old cholera victim who just the day before was on the brink of death, is doing much better. a day later, she would leave the cholera treatment center, healthy once more. and heidi and her fellow parishioners from arlington's our lady queen of peace, said they were committed to medor. they promised to return to work
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for a change that could be felt in the long term. that's what the airstrip was for. and that part of the mission was far from over. >> lots of dirt. lots of dust. lots of heat. just like vietnam. i love it. >> the helicopter had landed in medor, but could a plane? there were five days left and almost 800 feet of rocks and trees to be cleared when workers suddenly threaten to walk off the job after community leaders insisted they couldn't pay them a higher wage. the airstrip team had an idea. in a country where people struggled to put food on the table, maybe the simplest way to lift moral was serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. >> once we decided we could give three meals a day, they seemed to be real happy, singing, carrying on and working real hard.
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>> the big trees came down. even after the only chainsaw they had stopped working. >> these people, their stamina and strength is amazing. we have seven ax men. they go all day long. they're as fast as a chainsaw. i can't say enough about how hard these people have worked. >> then came the rain. two straight days and counting. >> when this stuff starts in, you don't know if it's going to be here for a couple hours or couple days or a week. >> work slowed, but the deadline was fast approaching. two days left before all the volunteers were scheduled to ship out. and there were still 400 feet to go and the toughest patch of stone-riddled terrain yet. >> i had no idea what the challenge would be until i got here. this country, it only goes one way, and that's uphill and it only has rocks. you pull one rock out, there's another one underneath it. >> this was dick's seventh trip
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to haiti since the earthquake. he also volunteered for several remote area medical missions in the united states. all in all, three months of hard labor. his wife, judy, said the wear and tear was starting to show. >> his main focus is the airstrip and he never thinks of himself until he's home and he collapses on the sofa. and that's another reason i'm here. i focus also on helping dick take care of himself. >> i think we can hit that pretty close. >> so much of the mission's success rested on dick's shoulders, and stan brock was leafing the village for port-au-prince the next morning. >> tomorrow i'm going to port-au-prince. to bring the airplane. so the next day i want to land here without hitting stumps or holes. >> stanhoped the next time he would see medor would be out of
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the cockpit of a small plane approaching a completed runway. as he started his descent down the mountain, he knew better than anyone else, landing that plane was easier said than done. coming up, the race is on to finish the lifeline to these people. will stan's plane land safely? >> we're going to go for
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it had been breathtaking accomplishments. the medical team now back in the u.s. had seen some 1,300 patients. fixed teeth, corrected vision, saved cholera victims and changed lives. and stan had fixed a part of
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that tough road into medor. but now the mission was reaching its climax. there were just two days left before dick's airstrip team had to return to their jobs and their families and the airstrip wasn't finished. so dick pulled another move in his playbook. competition between the local workers. >> today we will have two teams. one team will work up there, coming this way, one team will work here, work that way. go! >> the two teams raced until they met in the middle. and the airstrip was finished at last. it was a day of big smiles and gratitude as dick acknowledged the haitians' hard work then addressed his american troops. >> we came from all over the country. boarded up into a world war ii airplane, made a jump into a drop zone nobody had ever seen.
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i want to congratulate everybody on a successful jump, successful mission. >> to really understand the scope of the accomplishment, dick climbed a nearby mountain and gazed in awe. >> wow. beautiful. >> on day one of the mission, it was little more than a jump zone. on day four, it ran into a daunting wall of jungle. now, after 12 days, it was a 1,500-foot-long airstrip and a lifeline for the people of medor. >> that's just awesome. gosh. how many people are going to be able to see something like that and say they had a part in it? yep. i can't afford to get old. got to keep doing this. >> as proud as dick was, the airstrip was still untested. and after the volunteers went home, three frustrating weeks went by as dick and stan waited for clearance to land a plane in medor. and then it came.
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their mission, to land. stan had flown a small, donated plane to port-au-prince. it was meant to become the village's very own air ambulance. now stan and his co-pilot throttled up. the plane toured medor, where dick stoops was in place to coordinate a landing. as the plane bumped through the air into view, children on the way to school lined the airstrip. stan maneuvered the plane in a path over the village. >> once we commit to land, we have to go for it. >> roger. >> made his final approach -- >> we're going to go for this landing. >> gently lowering the little plane into the valley, just above the trees. stan made the first ever landing by plane in medor. as the plane taxied to a halt and the engine shut down,
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villagers surrounded the aircraft. stan brock emerged from the plane like a conquering hero. >> i'd say these people are quite enthusiastic. >> the mission to connect medor to the outside world was now complete. >> people here die simply because they can't get out of here. and the airplane is the answer to those types of serious cases. >> but it seemed an outrageous plan which challenged all manner of adversity was now a reality. stan brock with his world war ii plane, his band of adventurers, the our lady queen of peace and local workers changed a village forever, had given its people hope. stan admits there is much more work to do in haiti, but he knows no price can be put on those his mission has touched and how that wave of help will
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ripple into the future. >> it's like the little girl who's on the beach picking up starfish in low tide, right? and she's throwing them back into the ocean and somebody comes along and says, why are you doing that? there's thousands of them here on the beach. and she picks up another starfish and she says, but it's important that this one throws it back in. >> the value of one. value each one. that life matters. >> that's what it's all about. >> and you can find more information about the crisis in haiti at dateline.msnbc.com. i'm ann curry. for all of us here at nbc news, thank you and good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com

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